Looking for information about black grapes? The history of the black grape dates back more than 6,000 years. Today, these delicious fruits are grown throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas, and beyond.
Whether you prefer seeded or seedless grapes, there are a handful of table and wine varieties that boast enormous health benefits — promoting heart health, blood circulation, bone health, and more. Keep reading to learn more about these delicious fruits!
The Most Popular Types of Black Grapes
If you’re craving a bowl of delicious black grapes, here are 10 of the most popular varieties to check out.
1. Midnight Beauty
Midnight Beauty, also known as Sugrathirteen or Sugra13, is a medium-to-large elongated table grape that was first discovered in Kern County, California in 1990. This hybrid is the result of cross-breeding between the Fantasy Seedless grape and another unknown variety.
Naturally, the grape is often compared to Fantasy Seedless because of its dark color, elongated shape, and the fact that it’s a seedless grape. Yet Midnight Beauty differs in that it ripens roughly one month earlier, has a slightly more varied appearance, and is generally considered to be a better-tasting table grape.
While primarily black in color, Midnight Beauty may have deep red undertones. As for the grape’s texture and taste, Midnight Beauty possesses a crisp outer skin, firm inside, and a mild-but-sweet flavor.
2. Black Monukka
Black Monukka is a medium, seedless, and versatile grape, and one of Europe’s hardiest varieties. Although Black Monukka’s origin is unknown, experts believe that it was discovered in either Uzbekistan or Azerbaijan before making its way to India and then England in 1910.
The grape’s name is derived from the term monuqqa — the Persian word for raisins. Naturally, Black Monukka is a popular raisin grape, in addition to being both a fresh-eating grape and wine grape.
Black Monukka vines produce large clusters of sweet, juicy berries. These elongated grapes have a dark purple color and possess a thin-yet-crispy outer skin. They are grown throughout USDA zones 6–11 and ripen during later summer.
3. Summer Royal
In 1985, David Ramming and Ron Tarailo crossed seeded cultivar A69-190 with seedless cultivar C20-149 to create Summer Royal — a seedless black variety that ripens mid-season. This grape was founded in Fresno, California, and was released for commercial production in 1999.
While not generally considered a good candidate for wines, Summer Royal is beloved as both a table grape and raisin candidate. The berry’s taste is quite sweet overall and is often compared to Muscat.
These medium-sized, oval-shaped berries are predominantly blue-black in color. Because they have a high degree of variability, however, it’s not unusual to see berries with deep red or green tones — particularly toward the stem. What’s more, these grapes are very easy to harvest, thanks to their large groups of clusters.
4. Autumn Royal
David Ramming and Ron Tarailo are also credited for crossing the Autumn Black and C74-1 to develop Autumn Royal — an extra-large, seedless black grape that ripens late-season and was released for commercial production in 1996.
Like its summer counterpart, Autumn Royal was founded at California’s Fresno ARS lab and boasts a similar Muscat-like flavor. There are, however, a handful of noticeable differences between these two varieties.
Autumn Royal produces some of the largest grapes on the market, certainly among black grape varieties. A ripe Autumn Royal grape measures roughly one inch long and weighs approximately eight grams or more. The grape’s crispy black-purple skin provides a protective coating for its firm, transparent, yellow-green flesh.
Because Autumn Royal is harvested and marketed as late as December — when consumers are often left with fewer options to choose from — it remains one of the most popular black grapes on the market.
5. Black Emerald
In response to market demands for an early-season black grape, David Ramming and Ron Tarailo also developed Black Emerald — a medium-sized table grape that allows supermarkets to keep black grapes stocked as early as mid-May.
Since its release for commercial production in 1994, Black Emerald has enjoyed very little competition due to how early it ripens compared to the majority of black grape varieties.
It’s worth noting that Black Emerald grapes aren’t entirely seedless. Any grape may contain between two and four very small seeds, which are edible and largely go undetected. Ripe berries measure roughly ½–¾ inch long and have a rich black color.
Finally, Black Emerald grapes possess a firmness and crunch that makes them a wonderful addition to salads!
6. Arra Mystic Bloom
Arra Mystic Bloom, also known as ARRA 14 or Arrafourteen, is a very fertile seedless grape that is primarily grown throughout South Africa and Namibia. Despite how far they must travel in order to grace U.S. supermarkets, Arra Mystic Bloom grapes are quite durable and boast an incredible shelf life.
An early mid-season export, Arra Mystic Bloom grapes grow to roughly 7/8-inch long and take on a deep blue color that resembles a ripe blueberry. Like many other popular black grape varieties, Arra Mystic Bloom possesses a sweet, meaty core. One notable difference is its relatively thin skin.
Arra Mystic Bloom grapes grow in large bunches of up to 70–80 berries, making them easily harvestable. However, these heavy crop loads can occasionally result in berry shatter.
7. Arra Mystic Dream
Arra Mystic Dream, otherwise known as ARRA 32, is a table grape that is often compared to Autumn Royal due to its late-season harvest and extra-large berry size. Because these seedless grapes have adapted to all types of growing regions, they perform quite well throughout California, Greece, Italy, and other areas of the world.
Mystic Dream grapes have a deep blue-black color and a glossy layer of skin. These berries are crispy, firm, juicy, and sweet, while still maintaining a balanced and fairly neutral flavor overall.
While the combination of Arra Mystic Dream’s extra-large berry size and large clusters makes these grapes very harvestable, the sheer size and weight of crop loads make them especially prone to shatter.
8. Black Globe
Black Globe is a popular seeded variety, largely because of its potential as both a table grape and wine grape. These extra-large grapes are not only juicy and sweet but also highly aromatic.
Unlike most black grape varieties, which are oval-shaped, black globe grapes take on a rounder, “globe” shape. These mid-to-late season grapes are predominantly jet black, although shades of dark blue are often present.
Of course, you can eat Black Globe grapes straight from the vine, but they can just as easily be used for wines and repurposed for jellies. Due to their jumbo size and high grape juice content, however, they can be very messy. Make sure you have a small stack of napkins or a roll of paper towels nearby!
9. Sweet Sapphire
International Fruit Genetics’ (IFG) Sweet Sapphire is one of the more unusual-looking grapes you’re likely to come across. At first glance, its signature tubular shape and dimpled ends might cause you to question whether it is a grape at all. Rest assured, this variety is non-GMO and perfectly safe to eat.
Sweet Sapphire has a purple-black layer of skin and translucent green flesh. Berries are both crisp and firm, to the point where you can snap one of them in half and expect very little juice spillage.
As the name suggests, Sweet Sapphire grapes are also very sweet and have minimal tartness or acidity. They can hold their own as a dessert or as an addition to a charcuterie board!
Sable, also known as Sugrasixteen or Sugra16, is a seedless, mid-season grape that was developed in 1988 and released for commercial production in 2003. Today, it is one of the best-selling black grapes on the market.
As Black Monukka is Sable’s seed parent, these two varieties have much in common. Although Sable is significantly rounder than some of the more elongated varieties, it has an oval shape. The grape’s thick layer of skin makes it both crisp and chewy, although there is very minimal astringency.
Because Sable grapes are grown throughout the United States, Chile, Australia, South Africa, Asia, and other regions of the globe, they are harvested and exported year-round.
Wrapping Up Black Grapes
Whether you’re in need of a table grape or a wine grape, black grapes are an excellent choice due to their satisfying crunch and lip-smacking sweetness.
With that said, they are far from your only option. There are other kinds of grapes that might make the perfect snack, wine, or raisin.
You can learn more about these varieties by checking out our other grape-related articles!